Authors: Sheri WhiteFeather
Kyle's gaze stormed hers, as fierce as a silent war cry.
Joyce struggled to contain her emotions, to stop herself from tasting every inch of him. “Then get off me.”
“I don't want to.” He traced her top, running his fingers along the neckline. He moved lower, righting her clothes, respecting her in a way she'd never imagined. “And you don't want me to, either.”
Like a heart-pounding fool, she let him stay there, body to body, breath to breath. Even so, she fought the urge to put her arms around him, to hold him. She'd known him for eight months, almost long enough to have a baby.
That alone scared the death out of her. Her biological clock wouldn't stop ticking.
“We're in trouble.”
Skyler Hawk: Lone Brave
Jesse Hawk: Brave Father
Night Wind's Woman
Cherokee Marriage Dare
Sleeping with Her Rival
The Heart of a Stranger
A Kept Woman
Steamy Savannah Nights
Always Look Twice
Dynasties: Summer in Savannah
“The Dare Affair”
lives in Southern California and enjoys ethnic dining, attending powwows and visiting art galleries and vintage clothing stores near the beach. Since her one true passion is writing, she is thrilled to be part of the Silhouette Desire line. When she isn't writing, she often reads until the wee hours of the morning.
Sheri's husband, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, inspires many of her stories. They have a son, a daughter and a trio of catsâdomestic and wild. She loves to hear from her readers. You may write to her at: P.O. Box 17146, Anaheim, California 92817. Visit her Web site at www.SheriWhiteFeather.com.
To the readers who noticed Kyle in
Always Look Twice
and asked if I was going to write his story, this book is for you.
here in the hell was he?
Joyce Riggs waited at the locked gate in front of Kyle Prescott's obscure seven-acre dwelling, with an irate rottweiler snarling at her through the chain-link fence.
The guard dog fit Kyle to a T, but so did the other pooch, a miniature dachshund, keeping the rotten rotty company.
How many people would pair a rottweiler and an itty-bitty wiener dog together in the same yard?
And speaking of the yardâ¦
Scattered car parts. Old lawn furniture. Playground equipment. Wagon wheels. A cast-iron stove.
She blinked, deciding it was impossible to itemize everything. Kyle was, after all, a junk dealer. Or at least that was his legitimate profession, his cover, the work he claimed on his income tax returns.
She knew he was a militant who trained other militants, a Native American activist who kept the authorities guessing. And to make matters worse, she had a crush on him, an irritating attraction that had been nipping at her heels since they'd both decided nearly eight months ago that they despised each other.
She blew out a rough breath and did her damnedest to ignore the salivating rotty. But it wasn't easy. The domineering beast was getting angrier by the second. The wiener dog, on the other hand, was grinning at her like a sweet little goon.
Finally a banging sound caught her attention. The snap of a heavy wooden door, no doubt. Both dogs reacted, and like a muscle-bound mirage, Kyle appeared in the distance, descending the porch steps of his ancient home.
He lived in an isolated section of the high desert where Charles Manson and his merry band of murderers had been rumored to spend time, a place that still seemed like
to the average fear-abiding citizen.
Kyle moved closer, and Joyce squinted at him, wishing he didn't make her pulse flip and flutter.
It took a while, but he reached the gate, empha
sizing his long, lazy strides. And then he smirked, giving her a roguish, Rhett Butler-type look. The rottweiler was still baring his fangs, growling in the name of his gorgeous master. She could tell the dog was male. She could see his I'm-a-boy testes.
Fiddle-dee-dee, she thought. Supposedly Kyle had quite a pair, too. Not to mention the body part that went with them. She'd heard he was hung like a Trojan horse.
Not that she cared.
“Detective Riggs,” he said. “What a surprise.”
“I called and told you to expect me.”
“And I told you not to bother.”
“Aren't you the least bit curious why I'm here?” she baited.
He angled his head. As usual, his razor-sharp shoulder length hair was held in place with a cloth headband, reminiscent of the Geronimo era in Apache history. At six-four, he was a tall, dark half-blood, a man who carried his heritage like a nineteenth-century rifle.
He wore a blue T-shirt, button-fly jeans and knee-high moccasins. He was thirty-six, the same age as Joyce, but they didn't have anything in common, nothing but an unyielding attraction.
He shifted his stance, and the sandy soil settled around his feet. “If this is official police business then you'll have to get a warrant.”
“Why?” The October wind snapped like a whip, stinging her face. “Did you kill someone?”
His smirk faded. Kyle was a highly decorated Desert Storm soldier, a full-blown war hero. He didn't take death lightly. But neither did she. Joyce was a homicide detective.
For an instant, they simply stared at each other, trapped in a challenging moment. Then she glanced at the rottweiler. He remained on teeth-gnashing alert. “Will you call off that damn dog?”
The smile returned, the crisscross pattern on the fence distorting Kyle's handsome features. “He doesn't like cops.”
“I doubt he likes anyone.”
“He likes Olivia.”
Trust Kyle to bring up his former lover. Olivia was a mutual friend, a psychic who assisted the LAPD and the FBI and every other law enforcement agency Kyle claimed to hate.
But Olivia was also a beautiful, strong-willed woman who trained with Kyle in his private compound, something Joyce was hoping to do.
Especially now, while she was desperate to piece her shattered emotions back together.
“I'm willing to pay you,” she said.
That caught his attention. He gave the dog a subtle command, and it stopped snarling. He'd spoken in what sounded like a foreign language. Not any
thing Joyce recognized. Most likely, he'd trained his rotty to respond to Apache.
“Pay me for what?” he asked.
“For your sessions. Hand to hand combat. War games. Everything you offer here.”
“I don't train cops.”
“Then I'll be your first.”
He gave her a suspicious glare. “Why?”
“Because I'm going through a tough time, some personal issues I can't seem to resolve.” She didn't like revealing herself to him, but she wasn't going to unearth every little detail. Joyce's biological clock was ready to explode, something she couldn't begin to understand, something that was spinning out of control. “I need to blow off some steam. Get physical. Take my mind off my problems.”
“Then go to the police range and fire your gun. Do whatever your kind do.”
“My kind?” She wanted to kick him through the fence, but she knew the rottweiler would go nuts if she staged an attack. “Quit hiding behind your dog and let me in.”
“Nice try, Detective. But I'm not macho enough to fall for that.”
Yeah, right. He was as macho as a modern-day warrior could get. “Olivia told me all about you, Kyle. Everything.”
He had the gall to grin. “So you know I'm good
in bed. So what?” He paused, looked her up and down. “Is that why you're really here, Detective? To bang my brains out?”
She roamed her gaze over him, giving him a taste of his own chauvinistic medicine. “What brains?”
He almost laughed. Almost. But not quite.
As for her, she was used to sparring with hard-edged men, with criminals, with other detectives. Being a woman in a male-dominated environment made her stronger.
But sometimes it made her lonely, too.
A second later, Kyle surprised her by unlocking the gate. “You can come in if you want to.”
She motioned to the rottweiler. “What about him?”
“Clyde won't hurt you. Not unless I tell him to.”
Clyde. She glanced at the sturdy black and tan canine. He didn't move a well-toned muscle. He sat like a statue at his master's feet. She scanned the grounds for the dachshund and couldn't help but smile. The little wiener dog was wiggling like a ballpark frank trying to escape from a bun.
“What's that one's name?” she asked.
Kyle's lips quirked. “Bonnie.”
She raised her eyebrows. Bonnie and Clyde. He'd named his dogs after bank robbers.
He rattled the gate. “Are you coming in or not?”
Suddenly a voice in her head told her to go home, to stay away from Kyle Prescott. But the need to
fight her way out of her problems, to train with him, kept her grounded.
Besides, he didn't have a record. And although his activities often bordered on the suspicious, Joyce wanted to believe that when the chips were down, he could be trusted. On the day they'd met, he'd helped the LAPD apprehend a killer, a case that involved Native witchcraft. Of course, he'd only done that for Olivia, for a woman who'd fallen in love with someone else. Not that Olivia had ever been in love with Kyle. She'd claimed he was a bit too bizarre to make her feel secure.
Nonetheless, Joyce took a chance and stepped onto his property. Instantly he moved forward and snapped the padlock back into place, locking her into his domain, telling her, without words, that it was too late to turn tail and run.
As if he could scare her off. She wouldn't dream of chickening out, even if the rational voice in her head was calling her an idiot.
When he turned away from her, she noticed the small-of-the-back holster attached to his belt. She glanced at the semiautomatic SIG and wondered if he armed himself every morning. She knew darn well that Kyle didn't have a permit to carry a gun, open or concealed, but he was on his own property and that put him within the limits of the law.
“Expecting some bad guys to show up?” she asked.
“Just a bad girl.” He caught sight of her holstered gun, too. “But she's already here.”
“It was your idea to invade my world.” He motioned to his house. “Want some coffee?”
“As long as you don't poison it.”
And so were his pheromones, she thought. The sparks he sent flying, the sexual energy that made him seem like a predator.
She walked beside him, and Clyde fell into step. She could tell the rotty was aware of everything she did. But so was Kyle.
Refusing to give the males too much attention, she focused on Bonnie. The sweet little thing tagged along, her low-slung belly nearly dragging on the ground.
As they continued toward the house, as Bonnie skirted around salvage items that got in her way, Joyce studied the outbuildings on Kyle's property.
“Is that where you store the rest of your merchandise?” she asked.
He followed her line of sight, then nodded. “Furniture, collectables, memorabilia. Things you'd find in trading posts and antique stores. I've got some nice pieces for sale.” He paused. “Do you like vintage stuff?”
“Yes.” She loved browsing in charming old stores,
shopping for rare finds. “But atmosphere is important to me, too.”
He made a grand gesture. “You don't think my place has atmosphere?”
Was he joking? She couldn't quite tell. “Your airplane hangar has appeal.” The enormous structure sat behind everything else, taking up ten thousand square feet of space. She knew the building had been modified to support a highly sophisticated laser tag course, a compound she was anxious to see. But he still hadn't agreed to train her.
To help her with her cause.
To battle the emotions that threatened to swallow her.
Kyle slanted the lady cop a sideways glance. He intended to grill her, to figure out if she was on the level. For all he knew, she'd heard about his upcoming mission and wanted to poke her investigator's nose into his business.
He studied her profile, the chin-length sweep of blond hair, the simple curve of feminine eyelashes. This wasn't a case for a homicide detective. He didn't plan on hurting anyoneâno guns, no knives, no weapons of choice. But what he intended to do was still illegal, and Joyce could easily turn him over to one of her peers.
But as far as he was concerned, his mission was
sacred, a spiritual issue, something that was worth going to jail for. Even dying for, if it came down to that.
Of course, neither of those risks appealed to him. And neither did Joyce involving herself in his affairs.
Within minutes, they reached his house. After taking the weather-beaten steps, he opened the front door, gesturing for her to enter. She went inside, the dogs trailing after her.
She glanced around his living room and made a face. “Olivia warned me that you weren't much of a housekeeper. But this looks like somebody ransacked the place.”
Typical, he thought. Females always grumbled about the clutter in which he lived, including his former bedmate, a woman who'd accused him of being the biggest slob on the planet.
But he didn't care. He'd decorated with an eclectic style of furniture, with vintage pieces from different eras. And yeah, it was messy, with books, magazines and old clothes littering almost every surface. But he liked it that way. It kept his lovers from getting domestic ideas about him.
“Are you ready to get grossed out by my kitchen?” he asked.
“Is it that bad?”
“You'll probably think so.”
Sure enough, she did. When they rounded the cor
ner, the dogs in silent pursuit, she wrinkled her nose. “This is beyond gross.”
Kyle merely shrugged. The food-encrusted plates in the sink were probably growing mold. But he had lots of extra dinnerware, boxes and boxes of secondhand stuff. When his dishes got too disgusting, he threw them away and started over. The same with pots, pans, glasses and flatware. The whole shebang.
“Is the coffeepot clean?” she asked.
“It's new.” He plugged in the reconditioned unit and set about to make a dark, Colombian brew. He kept hundreds of preowned machines on hand. “Or sort of new. I've never used it before.”
He spared her a quick glance. He suspected that she lived in a tidy West L.A apartment, with silk flowers and a concrete balcony. Pretty but practical. Just like her.
While the coffee brewed, he leaned against the counter and took the time to check her out, to analyze her appearance. Neatly styled hair, blue eyes, noteworthy bone structure and minimal makeup. As for her clothes, she'd chosen an average white blouse, a lightweight blazer and black slacks.
Conservative, he thought. Coplike.
But damn if she didn't have a stimulating body, toned and athletic. Her mouth aroused him, too. The pillowy fullness, the insatiable, go-down-on-a-guy
shape. He'd heard that she had a teasing nature. That she flirted for the fun of it. Of course, he'd never seen that side of her.
He wondered how she would look in a push-up bra, smoky eyeliner and stiletto heels. Incredible, he decided.
She glared at him. “Cut it out.”
“Cut what out?”
“Looking at me like that.”
Amused, he bit back a smile. Clyde was watching her with guard dog awareness, and Bonnie was sniffing at her nondescript shoes. “Cro-Magnon men were capable hunters and food gatherers. Artistic cave painters, too.”
“You know darn well I was referring to their sexual habits.”
“Dragging womenfolk off by their hair? It's a fascinating theory, but I don't think it's true. Homo sapiens weren't dim-witted brutes. They were much more sophisticated thanâ”